Sutter County Library Literacy Coordinator Tejinder Kaur was recognized today as one of 10 women from Sutter and Yuba counties as Third Congressional District Women of the Year in a ceremony hosted by Congressman John Garamendi in Woodland.
Kaur was recognized both for the work she did helping to create the Sutter County Library’s Literacy Services Citizenship Preparation program, which has helped 6,386 individuals apply for naturalization and 740 file applications for citizenship, and for creating the Multicultural Women’s Dance, which draws women from all cultures in the Yuba-Sutter area.
Other women from Yuba and Sutter counties recognized today were Marysville’s Vera Correa, vice-president of the Alliance for Hispanic Advancement; Jackie Sillman, head of public relations for Recology Yuba-Sutter and a volunteer in many community programs; Elta Barber of Yuba City, founder of Youth Explosion and member of the board of directors of To Tanzania With Love, which raises money to aid an orphanage in Tanzania; 38-year Yuba College art instructor Sarah Sealander; Sally Serger of Yuba City, who teaches the deaf and hard of hearing, and is involved in 4H and a longtime advocate for flood risk reduction; sisters Heidi Shelton and Wendy Zepata, who co-own a business and volunteer for many events; Barbara Hankins of Meridian, a longtime school nurse in Colusa County; and Suzanne Laura Hall, who oversees the CalFresh nutrition program for five counties.
No wonder traffic can get bad around here. Every day, more than 17,700 workers leave their home in Sutter County and travel to another county for work. And every day, approximately 9,500 people commute into Sutter County for their job.
According to the Employment Development Department, 46.9 percent of the Sutter County work force commuted out of county to work, and 32.2 percent of all Sutter County jobs are held by commuters, based on a report by the American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, in January of 2015. Their charts for every county are located on their EDD website.
Both Sutter and Yuba counties have among the highest rates in the state for commuting out of county, but some of that can be attributed to the proximity of the county seats. According to the EDD, 5,400 people commute into Sutter County from Yuba County for work, and 6,050 commute out of Sutter County into Yuba County for work. The other factor, of course, is Sacramento, which received 3,890 commuters from Sutter County and 3,100 commuters from Yuba County each day. Over 51 percent of all Yuba County workers commute out of county.
According to the EDD estimates, Sutter County residents also commute in the following numbers to other counties: Yolo, 2,300; Placer 1,620; Butte, 1,360; Colusa, 740; Nevada, 400; Solano, 300; El Dorado, 100; San Joaquin 90; Glenn, 60; Contra Costa, 30; Napa, 30; Amador, 25; Sonoma, 20; and Mendocino, 20; and Plumas, 10.
It now takes the average worker 26 minutes to travel to work, according the the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s the longest it’s been since the Census began tracking this data in 1980. Back then the typical commute was only 21.7 minutes. Today it is 26 minutes.
Sutter County’s agricultural production bounced back in 2017 after five years of drought, and despite complications caused by historic rains in late winter and early spring, according to the 2017 Crop and Livestock Report released today.
Agricultural Commissioner Lisa Herbert said the 2017 gross production value of approximately $584 million is evidence Sutter County agriculture continues to thrive despite the weather challenges. It was the third highest gross production value estimated since 2010.
Despite a drop in acreage planted due to late rains, rice remained the top-ranking crop in 2017 with a slight increase in yield and price to a total value of $152 million. Walnuts increased in value nearly 10 percent due to higher acreage and price, rising to $130 million. Prunes increased in value by 113 Percent to $52 million. For more detail, here’s the full report.
Agriculture remains a keystone industry in Sutter County, directly employing in excess of 8,000 people in any given year. It has been this way ever since John Sutter created the first large scale agricultural enterprise in Sutter County prior to the Gold Rush. Agriculture is also one of the state’s largest industries.
As the 2017 Sutter County Crop and Livestock Report points out, a lot of credit goes to the University of California Cooperative Extension, which this year is celebrating 100 years of assistance to farmers in Sutter and Yuba counties.
The Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County conducted a great deal of research into the 100-year history of the Agricultural Extension and discovered that the UC Cooperative Extension has been helping to solve agricultural industry problems from its beginnings. They’ve tested new crops–they abandoned cotton as a failure here in 1926–conducted demonstrations on proper tree pruning practices, advocated for the establishment of an adequate system of rural roads, and have played pivotal roles in pest management, best irrigation management practices, and orchard nutrition. In 1927 they placed bees in almond orchards and yields increased by 158 percent. Varieties developed by the UC Cooperative Extension make up 85 percent of California’s walnut industry. Seven years after introducing safflower in 1950, more safflower was grown in Sutter County than any other in the United States.
You may know the UC Cooperative Extension as the farm and 4-H advisors, or the Master Gardeners, or nutrition educators. In 1974, the UC Cooperative Extension offices in Yuba and Sutter counties were combined and they are located in the same building as our Agricultural Department on Garden Highway. Both organizations do very important work for agriculture and our economy.
Grass fires are usually simple to put out. Until they are not. When the grass is extremely dry and fuel for a fire across undulating hills and down deep canyons in the Sutter Buttes, things can get complicated in a hurry.
Fire fighters from surrounding communities joined the battle this week when a grass fire erupted Tuesday evening in the Sutter Buttes, leading to the evacuation of four homes, and creating a very real threat to a multi-million dollar communications array on top of South Butte.
The peak of South Butte is the highest point in Sutter County, 2,112 feet–and the highest point in the Sacramento Valley, which is why several law enforcement agencies and many private companies, including radio and television stations, have equipment on the peak that helps them communicate throughout Northern California. (One Sacramento TV station was broadcasting from a camera it has stationed on the peak as flames rose toward it).
As the fire spread up the south side of South Butte, aerial tankers dumped chemical retardant in a thick line in an attempt to stop the fire before it reached the peak. The strategy was a partial success, but a small amount of damage occurred at the communications array as fire crawled up the peak and around its left flank northwesterly toward the 1,000 foot tall West Butte.
The Sutter Fire Department, along with fire fighters from Meridian, Sutter, East Nicolaus, Pleasant Grove, Yuba City, Colusa County, Sacramento County, Sacramento Metro, CalFire, and Beale Air Force Base responded. CalFire and Sac Metro provided aerial resources that helped fire fighters on the ground contain the fire by Thursday morning.
Sutter Fire Chief John Shalowitz cautioned firemen to watch for shifting winds, rattlesnakes and wild hogs in the Sutter Buttes. “Head on a swivel, keep alert,” he said at a Wednesday morning briefing.
Sutter County’s Sheriff’s Office, Road Department, Community Development Department, Office of Emergency Management, County Administrator’s Office, General Services, and IT departments provided support to the fire fighting effort. County Supervisors were active in staying informed so they could share information with constituents.
With thousands of fire fighters already deployed to wildfires across California, Sutter County is very grateful to have received so much mutual aid support during the Sutter Buttes fire. Many of these fire fighters recently returned from deployment at the fire near Redding, including Yuba City Fire Chief Pete Daley, who led a strike team last week that included members of the Yuba City and Linda fire departments, which saved the historic, mostly wooden town of Old Shasta.
Sutter County got a good look at how California’s fire fighters respond during a time of need. Fortunately, the Sutter Buttes fire was small (1,200 acres) in comparison to what is happening in other parts of California. But we appreciate every fire fighter who turned out.
Whether it is abatement of outdoor marijuana grows that violate the County’s rules or enforcement of building standards that displace squatters, Sutter County’s Code Enforcement efforts in the past year are having a positive impact.
In the Tudor area, two parcels that attracted a half dozen or more squatters has been cleared by a new owner–at great expense. The property, which included an iconic wooden structure familiar to those traveling the old Highway 99 route south from Yuba
City to Sacramento, was the subject of more than 90 calls for service to the Sheriff’s Department and Code Enforcement in the space of seven months.
Squatters occupied several buildings on the two properties, but after code enforcement tagged the buildings as uninhabitable, the squatters were removed from the property by the Sheriff’s Department. The property has been sold to a new owner who invested a great deal of money in removing debris, which took 15 large truckloads.
Earlier this year, the Board of Supervisors imposed fines and administrative costs of more than $185,000 combined on the owners of eight different properties for violating Sutter County’s ordinance banning outdoor marijuana grows. The County Counsel’s Office is taking the necessary steps to place liens on the properties.
This year, there have been 18 complaints of violations of the outdoor marijuana grows to date. In each case, the marijuana gardens have been abated before fines and administrative costs accrued. However, there may be more instances of reporting of outdoor marijuana gardens. The harvest season (essentially September/October) generates the largest numbers of complaints as the smell of the gardens permeates neighborhoods.
Sutter County Child Support Services is celebrating August Child Support Awareness Month by accepting donations of backpacks and back-to-school items for children the Child Support Services workers have become familiar with through their case work.
Last year, the community helped Child Support Services supply 65 children with backpacks full of school supplies through the Backpack and School Supply Give-A-Way program. Generous donations were made by County of Sutter employees, local attorneys, local businesses, and members of the public.
This year, the goal is to help supply the back-to-school needs of 100 children.
The program helps make a positive academic difference in the lives of children in our community. Not every family can afford to provide children what they need to succeed in school. A brand new backpack brimming with new back-to-school supplies is good for a child’s self-esteem as they start a brand new school year.
You can help. Donations of backpacks and school supplies (a list of needed items is listed on the poster above) can be dropped off at the Sutter County Department of Child Support Services, 543 Garden Highway, Suite A, Yuba City. Supplies can be donated through August 6.
For additional information, contact Cynthia Weinel at 530-822-7338, ext. 246, or at Weinel.Cynthia@Sutter.cse.ca.gov
Want access to farm fresh fruit and vegetables? In Sutter County, you have an opportunity every Saturday morning at the Yuba City Certified Farmer’s Market on Plumas Street at Town Center park (where the water fountain is located). The market opens at 8 a.m. and runs until noon.
The Sutter County Agriculture Department certifies that those who are selling the items at the farmer’s market are selling what is grown on their property. The certification process is the result in a change in state law several years ago that allows farmers to sell directly to customers without expensive packaging.
Some, but not all, of the growers at the market sell organic produce. According to the Sutter County Agriculture Department, there is a separate registration and certification process for labeling produce organic.
One of the great aspects of the Farmer’s Market is the ability to directly interact with the people who are growing your food, or with Master Gardener’s from the UC Davis Farm Extensions Service. In addition, Sutter County Public Health is conducting a “Fruit and Veggie Festival,” with a raffle and fun games for kids this Saturday.
There are approximately 35 certified producers in Sutter County. With that certification, they can sell at any Certified Farmer’s Market in California. Most sell locally, however, including in surrounding counties.